Ballpark plans get rolling
By: Todd Wessell
Journal & Topics Editor
Architectural and engineering planners have been given the signal to “get rolling” on development of a modern, eye-popping outdoor sports stadium where a new minor league baseball team will call home and a variety of other events hosted year-round.
The $65 million development that will include a Dave & Buster’s restaurant and a $20 million parking garage will be located on 10.2-acres of currently vacant land on the west side of the Tri-State Tollway (I-294) and north of Balmoral Avenue. It is scheduled to open in 2018.
Last October, Balmoral was extended west to O’Hare Airport. That project added a second entrance into and exit out of O’Hare assuring a significant increase in traffic to Rosemont’s outlet mall, convention facility, entertainment center, and theater, and eventually to the new ballpark and a nearby boutique hotel, office building and restaurants.
“We told them to get rolling,” said Mayor Brad Stephens recently in an interview with the Journal & Topics Media Group referring to work on the scope and design of the project.
Plans call for Rosemont to build and own the stadium, and well-financed investors and owners, who so far have preferred to remain anonymous, to field a new team in the American Association of Independent Professional Baseball league. It’s believed that a formal application for a new baseball team that will play its games in Rosemont will soon be submitted to the league.
“The project looks great from what we’ve seen,” said league Commissioner Miles Wolff recently.
According to Stephens, the new stadium will “definitely” include suites where game-goers can view contests in comfort.
“Our thinking is to build the best. Nothing’s off the table,” said the Mayor. He also explained that Dave & Buster’s, a national restaurant chain, has signed a letter of intent to be incorporated into the stadium development.
In order to be accepted into the baseball association, said Wolff, a minimum of eight of the 12 teams in the league must approve. The approval process normally takes a few months, he added. Members of the league include the Gary (Ind.) Southshore Railcats, Sioux Falls Canaries, Lincoln Saltdogs, Grand Prairie AirHogs and Wichita Wingnuts.
According to Mayor Stephens, the projected finish date of the stadium complex is April 15, 2018. The American Association of Independent Professional Baseball, based in Durham, NC, begins seasonal play this year on May 19 and ends Sept. 5. Teams play 100 games. He added that the Village will have to submit its building plans to the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) in order to comply with height restrictions due to its close proximity to O’Hare Airport.